Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Days 13 and 14

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 22: Sydney Harbour Bridge climb

March 23: Last morning in Sydney, flight back to London

Friday, March 22

Today was uneventful until late afternoon, when Sophie and I made our way into Sydney to climb the harbour bridge! Just as we left the flat, it started pouring with rain with thunder and lightning to go with it, so Sophie almost flatly refused to climb it, but it all cleared up before we got there which was good. The ascent was so much harder than coming down, getting used to the height probably took half of the whole walk, but it was so awesome! The view was amazing, and I really wish I could have taken my camera up to take more pictures, it was such an amazing experience, and so worth doing! Such a great thing to do on my last night. 

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Me and Sophie at the top of the bridge

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Saturday, March 23

My last morning in Sydney! We dropped Jessica off at her course and then went to Indigo, a posh cafe in Double Bay, for lunch. I had a caesar salad which was delicious but way too much for me, and then we had to go back to the flat, grab my bags and then leave for the airport. A huge traffic jam kind of stressed us out on the way but we still got there in plenty of time, and I had a good journey back. Within 48 hours I went from 30 degree weather to de-icing the car which was a bit of a shock. 

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View of Sydney from my gate at the airport

Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Days 11 and 12

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 20: Sydney fish market, Botanical gardens

March 21: The Rocks, shopping

Wednesday, March 20

After a pretty empty Tuesday, today we went to the Sydney fish market which was good, quite an experience. We had fish and chips at the Doyle’s there which was delicious, and definitely outdid the ones we had last week! 

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Some of the best fish and chips ever

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Me and Sophie 

We then waited an hour for a taxi that never arrived before hailing one elsewhere to go to the botanical gardens. We did a walk around there as it was really nice, had a look at the shop, and then walked to the Sydney Opera House again and back to Circular Quay. 

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Botanical Gardens

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Sophie, Jess and me

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We had a drink at the Opera Bar which was so nice at that time of day, and then we got a taxi home. 

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Opera Bar

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Thursday, March 21

I got up at half six this morning so I could have a shower which meant a nice early start, but then Caroline and I went to The Rocks after we’d dropped off Sophie and Jessica. We had a wander around, booked mine and Sophie’s bridge climb for Friday night and found out where we needed to go, walked round the shops for a bit, and had a second breakfast at the Guylian Cafe (their apple and strawberry brioche was so good!). 

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Strawberry and apple brioche with dipping chocolate

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Strawberry and white chocolate smoothie

We then picked up Sophie and Jess and went back to the apartment as Sophie had her tutor in the afternoon. After that, we went to Westfield to do some shopping – I bought two vests and a shirt from Factorie, which is a great shop, and then we all had McDonald’s because it was quick and Sophie had to be back for a Skype interview with a school. 

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Aussie Macca’s are amazing

Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Days 8 and 9

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 17: Lunch out with family, Roly and Pat’s house

March 18: Drive back to Auckland, flight to Sydney

Sunday, March 17

This morning we woke up pretty late (by NZ time) and spent the morning playing card games as it was pouring with rain outside (the country had been in drought for the last three months, and on the day we arrive it starts to rain, typical). Lauren and Ashleigh also came over so I got to meet them, and we watched Ashleigh’s wedding video from a couple of weeks before which was really nice. We then decided to go for lunch at a restaurant by the water which was nice, even if it was a terrible day and I was barely hungry. 

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Cheesecake 

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Me, Sophie, Jack, Ashleigh, Jessica, Lauren and David – my first time meeting my New Zealand cousins! 

After that we went to some shops as we needed to get David some stuff, and I bought an All Blacks shirt which I thought was appropriate while I was there. We then drove to Roly and Pat’s house in Katikati which was nice, and we met their golden retriever Pipi who is so cute! 

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Pipi

 

We went and had some food at a pub even though none of us were really hungry before we headed back to Linda and Clyde’s. We spent the evening sitting by the pool down their street which was so warm, and I kind of wish I’d gotten in as it was chlorine free, but nevermind.

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Monday, March 18

Today was relatively unexciting. We got up and sat in the car for three hours on the drive to Auckland – I’d felt so ill but sitting doing nothing for a while seemed to stop me from constantly coughig. We then went to the same cafe in Auckland we had breakfast at on Friday for lunch which was nice, and the sun finally came out after two days of rain! We then went back to David’s apartment for a bit before leaving for the airport. Pretty uninteresting airport visit, then what felt like a long flight home, with some dodgy landing skills at the end. Felt good to be back to some nice internet! 

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The view of Tauranga

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Me looking very ginger in Auckland 

Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Days 6 and 7

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 15: Flight to Auckland

March 16: Meeting family in Auckland, driving to Tauranga, evening in with family

Friday, March 15

Friday was our leaving day, so we finished packing in the morning and then went to the airport in the afternoon. The flight to Auckland was really good – we flew with Qantas who I hadn’t been with before and I was so impressed! For a three hour flight they had a TV, and the food was so nice, some kind of fish thing with sweet potato, and chocolate and ice cream so I was happy! David met us at the airport with a nice sign he’d made, and we went to the hotel to drop off our bags, and then out for a burger which was nice. Our hotel didn’t have wifi which I wasn’t so impressed by, but I managed to get a good night’s sleep which I needed. 

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One of the best plane meals I’ve ever had 

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Me and Sophie

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View of Auckland Tower from our room in the Mercure

Saturday, March 16

Saturday morning we went for breakfast at a cafe by Auckland harbour which was nice, and it had free wifi as well which is a plus! We then went to David’s flat for a bit just to kill some time, and Caroline wanted to put up some furniture in David’s room. Linda and Clyde then drove up to take us back down to Tauranga which was nice of them, and we went out for lunch by the harbour which was delicious, even if I was still full from breakfast. 

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Eggs Benedict in Auckland 

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A very grey Auckland harbour

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After that, we drove to Tauranga which took two and a half hours, where Jack, Roly, Pat, Gareth and Raewyn all were, which was really nice, and we had a really fun evening even if I was in pain from coughing (I’d somehow pulled a muscle in the car from coughing so much, so now it hurt even more), and I got to speak to mum and dad as well. We played on the ukeleles even though none of us knew how, and did the cup song, and some hilarious videos were recorded, particularly of Roly which are so funny. Must have been about 1am by the time we all got to bed. 

Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Days 4 and 5

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 13: Picnic in Double Bay, Sydney Eye

March 14: Quiet day

Wednesday, March 13

I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrendous – I’d fallen asleep at half ten, then woken up at midnight, half three, half four and half five feeling like I was on fire. I couldn’t make the air con hot or cold enough and I was just exhausted. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been ill for the last week, but I felt so bad last night. I spent the morning at the flat on Skype as wandering around in the heat wasn’t going to do me any good, but we went out at lunch time for a picnic in the park in Double Bay which was nice. We then came back for a bit and I fell asleep before we went to the Sydney Eye which was so good! The view was really amazing, and we couldn’t have picked a better day to go – it was so clear and you could see for miles. 

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I bought some souvenirs which I really like, and a couple of bracelets as I couldn’t help myself. After that we were starting to keel over, so we came back and crashed out.

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Thursday, March 14

Today was a pretty quiet day – I stayed in for the most part as I still felt ill, and then we went for a short walk up to Woollahra in the afternoon which was nice. 

Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga: Day 3

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 12: Double Bay, Westfield, Bondi Beach

Tuesday, March 12

Today was nice. I had a bit of a headache all day which was annoying, and I’m still getting over the flight although I’ve done well so far. This morning we dropped Jessica and Sophie off at their courses, and then had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in Double Bay (one of the few cafes with wifi). 

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My apple juice and brioche at Le Pain Quotidien

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Double Bay 

We then got a taxi to the Westfield at Bondi Junction and had a wander around for a bit – everything’s so expensive here so I decided to conserve my money for the time being. After that we went to pick up Sophie and Jessica before going home for some lunch. Sophie then had a tutor for a couple of hours before we decided to go to Bondi Beach for some fish and chips which was really nice, some of the best I’ve ever had! We then had a weird encounter with a man who tried to give us some random stuff he’d found on the beach, and then mumbled ‘fucking British’ as he walked off after we said we didn’t want it. Very bizarre haha. Jessica and I then stood in the water for a bit which was of a decent temperature – a bit too cold to be swimming in like a lot of people were but still not too bad, apart from the one wave I misjudged and then had my shorts soaked by. 

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Bondi Beach

 

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Sophie

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Fish and chips!

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Sydney, Auckland & Tauranga – Days 1 and 2

March 9 – 24, 2013

March 9/March 10: Flight to Sydney

March 11: Ferry to central Sydney, Sydney Opera House

Saturday March 9/Sunday, March 10

After roughly 24 hours travelling, I made it to Sydney! It may have only taken a day but I felt like I’d been on a plane for about a week! The first flight was alright, the worst part is always the beginning and I definitely felt nervy before I set off, not to mention the overhead locker that opened above my head on take off, that was a new one. I only had about half an hour free in Singapore, just enough time to sit outside in the cactus garden as the sun went down in 29 degree weather for the first time in a while.

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At Changi airport with my plane in the background

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Changi airport’s cactus garden

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The whole thing went relatively quickly, I’m sure time does weird things when you’re flying – a 12 hour flight rarely feels like 12 hours. I was warned that immigration at Sydney airport was atrocious, and I’d prepared myself for hours of queueing before I got out, but I managed to make it through security and baggage claim within 20 minutes, an hour before my aunt had even arrived! Most impressive. I had absolutely no gauge of the time – we had breakfast just after I got to the flat but it could have easily been 4pm for all I knew.

Monday, March 11

Today was pretty successful having got off a plane at 7am. We walked down to Double Bay, Sydney’s version of Beverly Hills, and where Jessica and Sophie were doing their courses, and then got a boat to Sydney Harbour which was great!

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Double Bay

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My first glimpse of the harbour!

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Sydney Opera House

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Sydney Harbour Bridge

We then had a walk around, had some chips at Doyle’s next to The Rocks, and planned on getting the boat back late morning in time for Sophie’s lesson that afternoon. Just before we got on the boat, her tutor rang to cancel, so we ended up staying all afternoon. We went on a tour around Sydney Opera House which was good, definitely worth doing.

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Me and Jess

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Sophie, Jess, me and Caroline – one of our tour photos

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Circular Quay

After that we grabbed some ice cream and got a taxi back as I was starting to get tired after about 40 hours of being awake on very little sleep. I fell asleep around 6pm which was pretty good going, and woke up just before nine, but other than that, I managed to get myself onto Sydney time pretty quickly!